What’s new for home viewing on Video on Demand and Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO and other streaming services.
Top streams for the week
Gal Gadot returns as the screen’s greatest Amazon warrior in “Wonder Woman 1984” (2020, PG-13), living quietly among humans in Washington, D.C., until she’s roused to action by a magical ancient artifact and a supervillain named Cheetah. Chris Pine returns as Steve Trevor, and Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal co-star. Originally intended as a summer big-screen release, the big-budget superhero spectacle debuts on HBO Max the same day it arrives in theaters, but there is a time limit on this: It streams for 31 days starting on Christmas Day. (HBO Max)
A music teacher and jazz pianist (voice of Jamie Foxx) gets stuck in the afterlife in the animated “Soul” (2020, PG), an odyssey that takes on ideas of inspiration, ambition and creativity. It might sound like heady themes for a family film, but then director Pete Docter tackled similar territory in “Up” and “Inside Out.” The Pixar feature debuts directly to Disney+.
George Clooney directs and stars in the post-apocalyptic thriller “The Midnight Sky” (2020, PG-13) as the lone scientist in an Arctic station trying to warn the crew of a deep space mission that they are returning to global catastrophe. Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler and Demián Bichir also star. (Netflix)
The romantic drama “Sylvie’s Love” (2020, PG-13) stars Tessa Thompson as a TV producer and Nnamdi Asomugha as a jazz saxophone player who fall in love in New York City in 1957, then meet again years later as their careers have taken different directions. (Amazon Prime)
The British costume drama “Bridgerton: Season 1” (not rated), about the cutthroat competition in the marriage market of wealthy and titled of early 1800s London, is the first series from producer Shonda Rhimes’ deal with Netflix. Creator Chris Van Dusen, a veteran of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” adapts the novels of Julia Quinn. Phoebe Dyvenor, Adjoa Andoh and Julie Andrews headline the sprawling cast. (Netflix)
Stephen King’s “The Stand” gets its second limited-series adaptation, this one starring Whoopi Goldberg, Alexander Skarsgard, James Marsden and Amber Heard. Two episodes available, new episodes each Wednesday. (CBS All Access)
Classic pick: Richard Lester’s rollicking “The Three Musketeers” (1974, PG) with Michael York as young D’Artagnan strikes the right balance between slapstick and swordplay as he battles the scheming Cardinal Richelieu (Charlton Heston) and the cold Milady de Winter (Faye Dunaway). (Amazon Prime)
Christmas pick: “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) with Jimmy Stewart is both the darkest and the most triumphant Christmas classic. (Amazon Prime)
News: HBO Max is now available on Roku devices and PlayStation 5, just in time for “Wonder Woman 1984.”
Robert Rodriguez directs “We Can Be Heroes” (2020, PG), a kid-oriented action comedy about the children of superheroes taking on alien invaders, starring Pedro Pascal, Priyanka Chopra and Christian Slater.
The concert special “Excuse Me, I Love You” (2020, TV-MA) presents Ariana Grande in the London appearance from her recent world tour.
International passport: Two young men fall in love in “Your Name Engraved Herein” (Taiwan, 2020, not rated, with subtitles), a romantic drama set in 1987 after the end of martial law in Taiwan. Also new is the romantic drama “Lovestruck in the City: Season 1” (South Korea, with subtitles).
Kid stuff: “Shaun the Sheep: Complete Series” (2007-2020, TV-G) from Britain’s Aardman Animations is a delightful collection of hilarious short comedies that play out without dialogue. The original series arrives on Netflix along with the new special “Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer’s Llamas” (2020, TV-G).
Standup: “London Hughes: To Catch a Dck” (2020, TV-MA) and “Rhys Nicholson: Live at the Athenaeum” (2020, TV-MA).
Amazon Prime Video
“Lady MacBeth” (2017, R), based on a classic Russian novel about a young bride in a loveless marriage, stars Oscar nominee Florence Pugh in her breakout performance.
International passport: “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence” (Sweden, 2014, PG-13, with subtitles), the third film in Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson’s trilogy “about being a human being,” is another deadpan comedy of bleak humor and absurdist situations, this one built around the odyssey of two sad-sack salesman.
Also newly arrived is “We Are the Best!” (Sweden, 2013, not rated, with subtitles), an energetic tale of three misfit girls who start an all-girl punk band in early 1980s Stockholm.
Amazon Prime and Hulu
Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza and Dave Franco star in the hilariously foul-mouthed comedy “The Little Hours” (2017, R), based on the medieval stories of Giovanni Boccaccio and shot in the hills of rural Italy with period detail and a modern accent. (Amazon Prime and Hulu)
An elderly couple (Sylvester McCoy and Rita Tushingham) turn the tables on a group of kids (including Maisie Williams) who break into their home in “The Owners” (2020, not rated).
Streaming TV: Zachary Quinto is back as the child-devouring vampire in “NOS4A2: Season 2” (TV-MA), the horror series based on a novel by Joe Hill.
”The West Wing: Complete Series” (1999-2006, TV-14), the great American series about idealism in government, has become comfort food viewing for many who just want to see a functional government, even if it’s just on TV.
Other streamsThe Cold War thriller “Shadow Lines” (Finland, not rated, with subtitles) follows the machinations of the KGB and the CIA in 1950s Helsinki. All 10 episodes available. (Sundance Now)
For a darker Christmas, Anna Camp and Adam Pally star in “A Creepshow Holiday Special” (2020, not rated). (Shudder)
”Afrofuturism,” a collection of a dozen features and numerous short films about imagined and alternative global Black experiences, spotlights film as diverse as John Sayles’ urban science-fiction drama “The Brother From Another Planet” (1984, R), and Souleymane Cissé’s visionary odyssey “Yeelen” (Mali, 1987, not rated, with subtitles). It’s on Criterion Channel, along with five films “Directed by Margarethe von Trotta,” from the politically volatile “Marianne and Juliane” (Germany, 1981, not rated, with subtitles) to “Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen” (Germany, 2009, not rated, with subtitles).
Sean Axmaker’s reviews can be found at streamondemandathome.com
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